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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Big Satan
Souls Saved Hear
Thirsty Ear Recordings

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There's an old joke that goes, "Wynton Marsalis walks out of an elevator and says, 'Man, that place rocks!'" It's not the greatest joke ever, but it makes a point (and if you see enough bad comedy, it's a victory for the joke): keeping too close to tradition can render jazz music bland, suitable as elevator music.

For my taste, I'd add an extra line to the joke: "...and then, Matthew Shipp walked up and punched him in the lungs."

Shipp is the curator of The Blue Series from Thirsty Ear Records, and as such, has been encouraging quite the opposite to slavish tradition-worship.

From collaborations with underground hip-hop stars like Anti-Pop Consortium to his work with the biggest names of the downtown avant-garde (William Parker, Guillermo Brown, Roy Campbell, etc.), The Blue Series has been a reliably excellent source of new, interesting and unusual music.

It is all unmistakably jazz, yet not in the least bit typical - basically, a Blue Series album won't make you wonder why you didn't just put a Charlie Parker or Coleman Hawkins record on instead. Souls Saved Hear, by Big Satan, is the latest Blue Series release, and continues in this excellent tradition (despite the unfortunate band name and album title.)

The band is comprised of Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Marc Ducret on guitar, and Tom Rainey on drums. Tim Berne has been around the New York avant-garde scene for quite some time and his alto-sax playing is that of a confident man, in full command of his instrument.

Marc Ducret's guitar-playing is interesting throughout, powerful yet supportive. Tom Rainey's drumming is solid, providing the backbone for Ducret and Berne's twists and turns.

Souls Saved Hear combines composed pieces and improvisation; it is a credit to these musicians that the listener can't easily discern which type is being played. The result is a very solid, competent, and interesting jazz record. If you are like me, enjoying what new wave has brought to jazz, then you will find many pleasures in this album.

Souls Saved Hear will do what most great new jazz will do: transport you to that avant-garde club in your mind - a beloved, dark and smoky place located in some out of the way corner of downtown New York City or Chicago.

Maybe it's a converted loft space, or some old art gallery. You can order good wine at the bar. The people there are really listening deeply, intently, concentrating on the music, not wanting to miss one single note or even a single space between. In places like these, creativity flourishes; every minute promises the possibility that you just might witness something that you've never heard before.

Wynton Marsalis wouldn't be caught dead in spaces such as these, but, as evidenced on this fine album, it is a place where Big Satan and their following happily reside.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz



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